Many businesses once they become established either follow the up and down trends of the market or are pulled in the direction that their dominant customers want to go! So why don’t you grab the reins and take your business in the direction where you want it to go?
The challenges facing market trends
Bad news grabs attention and therefore sells. Newspapers, print and online media channels want your attention as this attracts you to their advertisers.
Following the news could mean you become downbeat with all the negative data and information that is being communicated. This information effects your behaviour, therefore short term business planning in most cases may just be “stick to what we’re doing” and following the general market trends.
Another challenge can be changes and validity in economy statistics, pushed out by the press. For example it was reported by the press that retail sales in December fell by 1.9%…. but compared to what? The report compared December 2016 versus November 2016 which was boosted by a bumper Black Friday.
This meant UK retailers grabbed Christmas trade early bringing sales forward from December. If the press had compared December 2016 retail sales with December 2015, sales were actually up 4.3% year on year! Looking at this example, are you just allowing your business to be market led? If so you will be at the mercy of the market trends, but be particularly vulnerable when it falls.
Market led, or customer led?
You don’t have to be at the mercy of market trends, below are 6 top tips to help you take control of your business and take it to where you want it to go:
- Set a clear plan of what you want your business to do for you. Not just “I want to grow the business to sell it one day” but put a number on it, set a time scale and understand what adds value.
- Do your market research. Investigate demographic trends or the industry sectors your current customers operate in. What sectors are doing well and have strong future opportunities?
- Review your current product and service mix. What’s your sales trends internally, versus what’s the trends externally? Do all your customer know what you sell? A Good tip – Harvest your existing client base and focus on selling more of the things that make you more money (a higher margin).
- What’s your competition doing? Where are they strong? Where are they weak? What can you learn from them?
- What’s your current resources and capabilities? Do you have the right structure, systems, processes and people to deliver your plans?
- Share your plans with your employees. Work together to agree the necessary short and medium term actions. Decide who takes responsibility for what, support each other and agree follow up timescales.
Then it is just a matter of focusing on and supporting your team. As it is only through your people and team that you can deliver your strategy and aspirations. So take the reins and lead your people and company in the direction you want to go. It will be tough at times but keep your focus on the overall objective and keep the momentum going.
If you are looking to review and then grow your business, Business Doctors Cumbria offers a free business health check to help you to establish a clear vision and understand the steps to fulfil your aspirations.